December 31, 2020 08:31
The number of people living below the poverty line has increased by more than 550,000 since President Moon Jae-in took office three-and-a-half years ago on a progressive, egalitarian ticket. That means more than 160,000 people fell into poverty every year since 2017.
According to data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, over 2.72 million Koreans made only 30 to 50 percent of the country's median income and depend on state for basic living expenses as of November.
Their number also increased during the Park Geun-hye administration, but the rate of increase tapered off in 2016, only to rebound when Moon took office.
"This was partly due to the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic, but the sharp increase in the minimum wage led to an acute decline in day-laborer jobs and other positions in small businesses," said opposition People Power Party lawmaker Jo Myung-hee.
The number of day-labor jobs fell from 6.62 million in 2017 to 6.15 million this year.
The number of people on the poverty line paradoxically increased despite the Moon administration's expansion of benefits.
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